NASA is about to launch a laser demo that could revolutionize space communication - CNN
Dec 03, 2021 52 secs

The Laser Communications Relay Demonstration is NASA's first end-to-end laser relay system that will send and receive data from space to two optical ground stations in Table Mountain, California, and Haleakalā, Hawaii.

It will be able to send data from science experiments on the space station to the satellite, which will relay them back to Earth.

The demonstration acts as a relay satellite, which eliminates the need for future missions to have antennas with a direct line-of-sight on Earth.

The satellite could help reduce the size, weight and power requirements for communications on future spacecraft -- although this mission is about the size of a king mattress.

This means that future missions could be less expensive to launch and would have room for more science instruments.

Other missions currently in development that could test laser communication capabilities include the Orion Artemis II Optical Communications System, which will allow for an ultra-high-definition video feed between NASA and Artemis astronauts venturing to the moon.

And the Psyche mission, which launches in 2022, will reach its asteroid destination in 2026.

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